"Motheroceanmorning" C36
(Fish Prints Inc)

In less than FOUR months time, Fish Prints Inc (li’l sibling label to I <3 Noise) has already put out a handful of quality, quirky releases from largely unsung/underrated artists from around the world. First, there was a twee-pop demo by Nelories, from Japan, 1990, followed by a brand-spankin’ new album by Cryostasium, an avant-garde atmospheric black metal project out of Boston. Then came a re-release of a 1997 album by German electro-diva, Barbara Morgenstern, followed by a brand new offering, which found her ever-darker and more powerful.

And now, PDX’s Lida Husik kicks out her first proper recording in nearly two decades, after taking a long hiatus from a decade of exploring punk & electro-pop psychedelia (in the 90’s…see a pattern here?).  2018’s “Motheroceanmorning” finds LH trading in her trusted, busy electronic beats & slick studio mixing of vocal harmonies/canons for a more earnest folksy, country-blues repertoire, she alone physically playing her catchy honky-tonkin’ arrangements and softly cooing along, old-timey-like, in a now huskier contralto.

It’d be great to catch her and maybe Michael Hurley trading off songs at the Laurelthirst someday!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

“here & how / silver currents”

Hello cassette gods subscribers! We have for you today notes on TO THE WEDDING’s double EP cassette tape “here & how / silver currents”. Have you heard Lauren Grubb’s music before? It does all the right things. Sometimes it sounds like Scout Niblett is playing the guitar with that wonderful fuzz sound that often times needs no accompaniment besides a VOICE. But then damn when everything else comes in, the dreamy guitars and hard-hit drums and powerful bass—WOW! This is the right kinda of dream pop. They’re from the bay area, this band, but sometimes it sounds more like they live in the desert with lots of rattlesnakes around, a haunted and open space where you can see for miles and miles—as far as their sounds travel, to where the skyline meets the sea or sierra. This music stretches far and wide and is good for, in my little opinion, long travels on the road or in the air or on a boat. These sounds are lush, rich, dreamy, uncompromising and psychedelic in calm and chaotic kinda way. You’ll like it if you give it a listen. Really there’s nothing to dislike.

-- Ricky Lemonseed, esquire

“T. Penn Collections” C92
(Saga House)

The first thing you’ll notice about this tape is that the A-side is backward. Like, literally, it’s a mirror image of side B in all ways. The tape plays backward, like you’re perma-stuck in the Black Lodge, but the backward-recorded sounds aren’t played forward again to mess with your head. It’s a weird, nightmarish side, only suggesting the lo-fi chaos that appears on side B (and plays the right way). Well, maybe not “suggesting.” It does play everything on side you’re about to hear, just … differently.

The second thing you’ll notice is that head Human Adult T. Penn is a friggin’ weirdo. The Jersey lifer begins side B with the seventeen-minute “Music Is Not My Religion but This Is My Prayer,” a guttural meditation on the low end of the EQ spectrum, dense and noisy and intense. From there he slips into anti–rock music shaman mode, drawing from different iterations of bands he was in (Th’ Summer Dresses, Th’ Horrorday Rounders; Human Adult Band gets credit for tracks B2, B3, and B6) and playing a couple tunes written by people who aren’t him (R. Stevie Moore, Marc Bolan). These are wandering no wave ideas filtered through bedroom DIY, beat ingenuity tethered to necessity as the mother of ramshackle invention.

T. Penn may be a friggin’ weirdo, but he’s an interesting one nonetheless.

Keep an eye out for Philly’s own Saga House cassette label – they bill themselves as “a curatorial project to recycle a load of 1,700 blank cassette tapes and a duplicator found in a church basement in 2014. Saga House is a not for profit endeavor, selling the tapes directly for $3 apiece.” Sounds like they’ve got a lot of good things planned for those 1,700 tapes.

Saga House


METAL DISCO “Vade Mecum” (Detonic Recordings)

Post punk drifted to Australia’s remote shores probably sometime around when it drifted everywhere else – Detonic Recordings just so happened to perfect it in the interim. Or – maybe not perfected it. Definitely “revels in its weirdness” to the full extent that one record label can. Enough at least to cultivate an aesthetic around it.

Metal Disco is the perfect band for Detonic to release. Steeped in synthwave/darkwave/industrial traditions, “Vade Mecum” is recorded so crisply that I can’t even believe this isn’t some sort of hi-def digital version pumped through a $20K sound system. It’s not – it’s just a dude, his synths, and his drum machines on tape. You will not be surprised by the list of artists who have inspired Metal Disco, as lifted from the Facebook page: Cat Rapes Dog / And One / The Prodigy / Soman / Motor / Icon Of Coil / Combichrist / KLF / Ministry / NIN / Black Strobe / Cubanate / Aphex Twin / Orbital / Symphonix / FSOL / Orgy / Fischerspooner / Alien Sex Fiend / VAC / Juno Reactor / X-Dream.

Got it?

You should. “Vade Mecum” is a propulsive nocturnal creation that’s insanely fun from the first minute to the last. It totally reminds me of all the Wax Trax! bootlegs I had in high school. This is just a super fun reminder of how weird and great and dark and clangy one artist can get – Metal Disco and Detonic for everyone!

Metal Disco

Detonic Recordings


"These Carbon-Composite Poles Are Made For Walkin’" C37 (Strategic Tape Reserve)

Though I’d only had the utmost pleasure of hearing STR alums moduS ponY and Jöns before, I knew I was in for a treat when receiving this compilation tape for review. The wrist sweatband included bewildered me, big time, but reading the J-Card’s liner notes for clues yielded one hell of an A-Ha moment: this tape is curated specifically for fucking pole-walkers! Yes! Interspersed throughout these 19 tracks of Left-Field Electronica, Glitch, Ambient-Noise, Industrial & Vaporwavy goodness are several Nordic Walking gurus waxing philosophical in Swedish & Engrish!

Barring a lone, beat-heavy indie-folk number, the rest of the non-inspirational-speech tracks on this tape set a disorientingly stumbly pace for the flexy-caned urban-hiker to pensively perambulate to, their mani(a)cally upbeat rhythms frequently sputtering and disappearing amidst swirling modular synth work, warbled loops, heavily processed samples, and layered texture upon noise upon mystery.

If you know nothing of Nordic Walking culture and/or simply want to hear some tunes that’ll get your athletic swagger on, do study the link below!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

"Unschuld Und Verwüstung" C50
(Fish Prints Inc)

A cursory surface listening to “Unschuld und Verwüstung” will likely find you drawing comparisons to some slower jams by Eleanor-heavy Fiery Furnaces and maybe Ann Steel (with Roberto Cacciapaglia), and you wouldn’t be wrong. Like, at all. However, neither of those aforementioned goddesses sing in German, nor do they evoke even a sliver of the broodiness that Barbara Morgenstern consistently conjures up throughout this dark electro/chamber(ish) pop album.

Through droning bass accordion arrangements, modular synth/piano melodies, grooving drum machine syncopations, left-field accents (xylophone, apocalyptic guitar feedback, harp, & brass to name a few), & dedicated studio mixing wizardry, BM kicks out a diverse collection of get-down-able midnight dance floor jams & moody mantras to nod along to.

&a strapping of good headphones reveal will reveal a whole other rich, inner world, with countless details buried deep, deep, deep in the mix that won’t get heard without concertedly tracking them down.  Happy hunting! Hell yeah, Fish Prints Inc!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

ZIYAD “Compost regrowth”
(Hear Now Records)

Ah the Earth. Nature. Sounds. Music. Ziyad takes you home to our Mother who is Nature. This might be the soundtrack to Planet Earth III where instead of animals chasing each other trying to kill and swallow up their prey, we have all those little and big guys prancing around in perfect harmony. The lion and the lamb. The whale and whaler. Close your eyes and see all the magic of the world float up before in perfect little swells before the petals of multicolored flowers float up in rainbow bursts before they couple, part and become something new—a giraffe or pink pig or fuzzy lil caterpillars that gutslide over dew dappled roses sparkling in the morning sun. But then, by night, things begin to decay, like a stop motion of a rotting fox swelling, filling with maggots who then devour the carrion and replace it with rich soil that will eventually spring up a peach tree. Ah but there’s more. Much more. Soon these nature imagines turn human, especially when we hear LADY MIDNIGHT sing those POP melodies. God this tape is LUSH. DREAMY. and REAL. Real good. Real music. Natural music. Ahhh yes, this tape is for you because it is for anybody.

-Ricky Lemonseed

TENDER MERCY “Leave Little Room” (Obsolete Media Objects)

Nocturnal reveries in the vein of minimal Radiohead compositions. Mark Kramer has cultivated a distinctive singer/songwriter style, a black, evocative character, preferring the shadows to the light. His voice haunts the spare guitar notes like an utter specter. Songs like these play over the end credits of drama films that have faded to black following some sort of traumatic event.

The Tender Mercy tape is packaged beautifully in folded cardstock, like an invitation to some midnight affair or strange ritual. Accept it, know that it’s your destiny, and arrive promptly at the given hour. Your life may depend on it.

Tender Mercy

Obsolete Media Objects


“Pieza Para Guitarra Afinada”
C90 (Pilgrim Talk)

“Piece for Tuned Guitar,” which is how you say “Pieza Para Guitarra Afinada” in English (I had no idea), is exactly what to expect from Cristián Alvear over the course of these 90 minutes. The guitarist patiently allows his careful “melodic cells” to settle and grow within themselves, his acoustic plucking a study in discipline and focus. Drawing from Erik Satie’s “Vexations,” Alvear presents a single 90-minute piece that unfolds like clockwork.

But that all sounds like promo copy doesn’t it? What it doesn’t say is Alvear’s playing is hypnotic, likely to put you into a deeply meditative state if you’re so inclined or not careful enough. I was once hypnotized at a Renaissance Faire, and I believe I was made to act like some barnyard animal or another. (I had seen the show before, so I was aware of what could POSSIBLY happen.) I hope Alvear does not have any nefarious tricks up his sleeve, because I will certainly NOT eat weird things or pretend I’m an airplane or wet myself in public again.

Haha, did I say “again”? I meant “ever.”

But if someone drops Satie’s name in reference to their work, I’m in. This is a long damn tape, I’ll give you that, but it’s absolutely mesmerizing. Prepare yourself for some deep listening before you pop this one in, and set your tape player on auto reverse, because I have a feeling if you simply let it go, over and over, you’ll get to some pretty interesting places in your mind. Give it a shot, let me know how it goes.

Cristián Alvear

Pilgrim Talk



"Ashenden" C37
(Muzan Editions)

Everybody knows there are no noteworthy ghost societies here on Earth. There simply aren’t enough Hydrogen and Helium molecules packed together for them to maintain any kind of serious purchase in our atmosphere…at least not for any reasonable amount of time. Negatory. No. All ghosts (consciously neutrino-based) live out their most comfortable, free lives floating about within the miasmic clouds of Jupiter and Saturn, where they commute along well-traversed wind-tunnels carved out (much like deer trails for terrestrial dwellers) through eternally restless hazes of varying Noble Gas concentrations.

&it is along these trusty routes that the melancholic solar-windsong of Lee Noble can be heard, his otherworldly minor synth-swells colliding and infusing like muted hobo-banshees in the night, his counter-textures rumbling, gaseous leagues below, transmitting intermittent shockwaves through the airs, his violently persnickety gales of static careening and screeching to dead haults, just outside the “walls” of these cavernous paths.

This tape is one helluva soundtrack for watching the Cosmos series and/or reading Ray Bradbury to, at Any volume!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

CHELSEA BRIDGE “Jo” (American Damage)

Heartbreaking in its naked emotionality, resolute in its momentum, Chelsea Bridge’s “Jo” is a grinding slab of elegance in its ability to combine difficulty with euphoria.

“People think butterflies are pretty and powerless. … It’s not easy, destroying your home to spread your wings.”

Change is a constant on “Jo,” but slow change, chrysalis change, a complete reformation of body and soul and mind. Life ceases to resemble what it was. Endless cycles promise endless possibility.

Chelsea Bridge harnesses the power of ceaseless change and puts it to perfect use: as philosophical introspection put to music, a fascinating study of identity and belonging. Strap on headphones and evolve along with the rest of us.

American Damage


UTICA "Self Titled" C53 (Life Like)

This is one hell of a release to take mid-afternoon naps in the shade to! Just imagine yourself a stoned catfish, lazily hunting crawdads along a mildly murky stretch of the Mississippi River floor, those pesky mudclouds sporadically rolling along, masking the occasional errant pebble’s excited travel downstream, those gentle knocks on the nose waking you up just enough to see a tentative antenna searching out some water-striders. Carpe diem! In a decade or two, that li’l crayguy’s crawgrandchildren’ll be feasting on your decaying remains, so nosh while the sloshing’s good!

Ann Arbor’s UTICA manage to churn up a deceptively simple-yet-blissful haze of New Age ambiance along the shallow riverbanks of droning minimalism. With blurry, bassy piano arpeggios that wax & wane in & out of focus (think mid-tempo parts of La Monte Young’s “The Well-Tuned Piano”) just below major-key feedback and e-bowed guitar meanderings, it’s easy to get lost in trying to track just where the synths end and the strings start, but why bother? 98% of this long, slow-burner is consonantly euphoric, with only a faint, sporadic minor-key visitation that passes quickly without leaving any moody aftertaste. Pretty brilliant stuff!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

LLARKS “Metallic Summer Sea” (self-released)

The ocean is made of heavy metals, dense with molecules, shifting in tides and currents, washing on shores blasted with solar radiation. Crystals twinkle in daylight, casting alien prisms as far as the eye can see. An unending bombardment of energy from the nearest star constantly makes and remakes the genetic code here, the physics hurtle and change at near unimaginable rates. Yet summer is still summer, technically, even though from a human perspective it resembles nothing of the sort – in fact, nothing even remotely like anything a human has encountered before. 

Llarks bristles with unearthly static and emanates melody imbued with friction. It is a calming presence as well as a mysterious one. It is constantly in motion yet deceptively still. It envelops and infiltrates yet is observable from a distance. Encounter its hallucinatory state and focus your full attention on becoming overwhelmed. You will not be disappointed.



SALMARI “Agnosia” C28
(Black Ring Rituals Records)

Side A of the tape, a single track called “Revenge Bidding,” starts as a confluence of recorded voices and drones that rises from a hectic crucible of sound and gradually stretches out, becoming a chant-like pulse. Colorful and contrasting patterns follow, from synthesized tones to tangles of noise to peaceful sustain. This track is restless but never in a hurry, though it covers much space.

Side B, “Chasm / Fuck Whole Foods,” includes distorted vocals alongside industrial clanks and ringing. The side begins with a Gregorian chant-y reciting of the line “I will always be alone,” that repeats and builds in trancelike progression. The piece develops gradually and elongates as it continues, becoming ethereal and drifting, a sonic mist covering the metallic clanging below. The vocals on this side really bring the various other elements together (and the other elements are various, from prepared piano to metallic churnings). There are portions of warped and twisting vocal samples, sung and spoken lyrics, and consolatory whispers. Overall, this music is very enjoyable and diverse, an interesting ride throughout.

--P. Karras     

ANDY BIRTWISTLE "Chewed" C40 (Start Here)

“Chewed” is to be experienced as an academic artifact documenting the mortality of fidelity as lived by a descending and ascending sine wave trapped in magnetized tape, from 10Khz to 40hz, and vice-versa. Read the bandcamp bio for the manifesto.

My neighbors (and their pets) fucking hate me for playing this on the livingroom stereo.

--Jacob An Kittenplan

“Moments Without People in Them”
(Dormant Tapes)

Moments Without People in Them, aptly dedicated to the late dog Bill, takes us on a journey through the atmospheres of a dog’s happy brain. Pulses of sweet peaceful ambience carry simple melodies into the wind and the wind takes these sounds to places unknown, undiscovered, where people have not yet trespassed, but trespass they will as soon as these sounds are heard! The album is a dream, reminiscent of brain waves. It must be these are the sounds that are heard when no sound can be heard. The gentle humming of our nervous and circulatory systems. The swift invisible current that exists only in the deepest depths of the ocean. Bubbles coming up from the core of the earth, from the core of the dog’s brain. Bill was an old dog, at least this music seems to capture his later, more sedentary years. We watch feathers and leaves float through the air’s calming breeze. They captivate us but that captivation is subtle and easy on the eyes, a sunset without the sun—as the cover [of this album] portrays. Get it and listen to the somniferous waves carry you away deep into your own consciousness where endless discoveries of new nostalgias bless your thoughtless thoughts.

-Ricky Lemonseed

"Fluid Electric" C40
(Ingrown Records)

Ambient-Electronica sound-collagist Andrew Dickey’s newest endeavor (as Corsica Annex) picks up where his former projects, Lent and Eigenface (and a whole host of others, really), left off, but this time, with a finely-honed focus on subtle transitions and mixing, eschewing all rhythmic energies for more minute, atonal texture metamorphosii and sleight-of-hand mood shifts. Which is to say, AD has upped the ambient stream-of-conscious editing game Big Time here. The hallucinatory result plays like a repetition-less Chad VanGaalen animation, where a simple walk in the woods incrementally involves daydreamy vignettes of visiting all our neighboring planets’ equivalents of tree-lined bogs. Perfect zone-out soundtrack on the stereo, but truly mesmerizing when played loud, through good headphones! More please!

--Jacob An Kittenplan

CONSCIOUS SUMMARY “Exhaustions” C32 (Skin Trade)

Samur Khouja left Los Angeles for India one day, spending a month on the road there before returning home and recording “Exhaustions,” which he conceived on his journey. I, on the other hand, went to California for a wedding for six days and returned home and did basically nothing. I guess I listened to Conscious Summary. Wrote about it a bit.

Having clearly proven that Khouja has a more drive one single pinkie finger than I do in my whole body, I now turn to “Exhaustions” itself, three tracks composed for synthesizer and voice that overtake your attention. The tracks hover there, like landscape covered in fog, and move in slow motion, punctuated here and there by bursts of noise and shrouded in a sort of orchestral ambience. It’s a bit creepy, I’ll give it that, and it sounds perfect right about now in the days leading up to Halloween.

But “Exhaustions” isn’t a “Halloween” record – it’s much more of a mood piece, and connecting it to Khouja’s Indian jaunt is important. In it you can hear the weariness of experience and interaction, as well as the intrigue of traveling through and discovering new places. Eyes widen and dim in the ebbs and flows of an endless voyage. It’s all here – the full experience. (Re)live it with Conscious Summary.

Skin Trade


“Annihilate Your Masters”
(WEATNU Records)

I used to LOVE netlabels, especially the ones that trafficked exclusively in ambient, electronic, and post rock. The best ones combined all three. Ten years has now passed since I so eagerly dug into that stuff. Ten long years… But hey! Here’s Whettman Chelmets to bring the whole thing back around, full circle, and rekindle my love for that heady brew of the one-person-that-sounds-like-a-full-band recording project. “Annihilate Your Masters” is a sensory treat.

Not content to simply bludgeon or drift, Chelmets deftly combines elements of rock and electronics (and even musique concrète – check out “Preparation [Thesis]”) into an instrumental package layered with nuance. The distorted guitars are leavened by drum machines, and starry passages (like “Inevitable Synthesis”) offer intriguing counterpoint. Chelmets sometimes even comes off like early Godspeed, especially on “Resignation (New Thesis. Seeds of Preparation),” where disembodied voices speak over heavily treated solo guitar. In fact, with the Hegel quote that adorns the tape and the themes of “servitude, inevitability, and resignation” peppering the recording (not to mention the image on the cover of the person sleeping in the urban daytime), it’s no wonder I’ve pinned that comparison on here.

“Annihilate Your Masters” is a great reintroduction to all that bleak, apocalyptic stuff I never thought would hit me this hard again. But don’t worry, it’s not all bleak – come for some bombast, stay for the glowing, dreamlike passages!

Whettman Chelmets

WEATNU Records